Barack Obama needs to be called out on his claim that he'd attack wasteful federal spending by sitting down with the national budget and go over it line-by-line. I may not have gone to Harvard like the Illinois senator, but even I know that this will never happen.
I was reminded of what he said in Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal column this morning:
There is now something infantilizing about this election. Mr. Obama
continued to claim he will remove wasteful spending by sitting down
with the federal budget and going through it "line by line." This is
absurd, and he must know it. Mr. McCain continued to vow he will
"balance the budget" in the next four years. Who believes that? Does
The reason I question this: I spent most of my working life in and around the Michigan Legislature. The legislator who just looked at an appropriations bill, let alone the finished document was the rare exception. They occasionally look at carefully-sculpted staff summaries which are finely tuned through the perceptual filters of analysts with their own biases.
Think about the federal budget--the finished product--and the hundreds of pages of bills which are needed to enact it. These are line items with out much explanation of how the money would be used.
And even if he or if McCain found a wasteful item, they would have to get the U.S. Congress to agree to the cut. How likely would it be that the selfish interests in the House and Senate would stand up and salute the President and say "yes sir, we will do it?"
Cutting the budget will take skillful legislative maneuvering where there's a relationship with members of Congress and where the sitting president has the knowledge and ability to leverage his or her power.
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